Mainland China Commercial Property Investment Strengthened in Q3, Driven by Return of Domestic Buyers

Deals over RMB 100 million up 28% on prior quarter


CHINA - Media OutReach - 5 November 2019 - Investment volume in Mainland China's commercial real estate (CRE)
investment market strengthened in Q3, with deals over RMB 100 million totaling
RMB 49.7 billion, up 28% q-o-q, according to Cushman & Wakefield Research's
latest Greater China Capital Markets
report. However, when compared with last year's peak levels, the total
investment level in the CRE market in Q3 was down 28% y-o-y.


Catherine Chen, Head of Capital Market
Research, Greater China at Cushman & Wakefield and author of the report, commented:
"A notable
shift was the return of domestic buyers, who took more than 90% of the
quarter's investment volume, with a dominant advantage in acquiring publicly
auctioned assets and pre-distressed assets. We also witnessed an increase in
demand from owner-occupiers in acquiring office assets, largely domestic


Shepherd, Head of Research, Asia Pacific at Cushman & Wakefield, stated:
government's clampdown on real estate developer financing does present
opportunities for international investors in the Mainland China market, yet,
despite this, we have seen a significant slide in transaction volume over the
past two quarters. Headwinds from trade tensions, coupled with the weakening
yuan, have created increasing challenges for international investors. However,
we still see significant interest from investors from Hong Kong China and Singapore,
and we expect considerable pent-up demand to be released once greater certainty
around the RMB exchange rate becomes more apparent."

Over the
first three quarters, Hong Kong-based investors have deployed an impressive RMB
16.3 billion, followed by investors from Singapore who have invested RMB 9.6
billion into Mainland China's CRE market. Notable deals have included Hong Kong-based
Link REIT's acquisition of Shenzhen's Central Walk for RMB 6.6 billion. Singapore-based
Keppel has made multiple purchases, including Yi Fang Tower in Shanghai,
Zhongguancun Neo in Beijing, a joint investment into Westmin Plaza in
Guangzhou, and most recently in Q4, Ronsin Technology Center via Alpha
Investment Partners.

The office sector
represented 55% of the quarter's investment, primarily driven by a few large
transactions in Beijing, namely the purchases of Lize Plaza, Pangu Plaza and
HNA Plaza, all by domestic buyers. Nonetheless, excluding Beijing, office
investment volume (including office space in mixed use developments) weakened
in most of the Tier One and Tier Two cities tracked by Cushman and Wakefield. The
weakening investment was primarily due to softening office leasing demand, as net
absorption levels for the first three quarters of 2019 were down 56% and 58% in
comparison to the same period in 2017 and 2018, respectively.


factors to the weakening demand in the office leasing sector included slower
expansion of co-working operators and financial services companies, and a
general cost-saving strategy adopted by most tenants given ongoing trade
tensions and a slowdown in economic growth.


Chen added: "Looking ahead, we expect that the
recent preliminary agreement reached by China and the U.S. on trade will likely
provide some market confidence, and in turn will hopefully support end-user
demand, rental levels, and ultimately gross yields towards yearend and in 2020."


in retail assets saw a boost over the first three quarters, with investment
volume up 55% y-o-y. The recovery in retail sales could be attributed to recent
personal tax cuts and the implementation of new e-commerce regulations with
stricter requirements on business registration and taxation -- especially on
overseas e-commerce retailers and personal shoppers. The narrowing gap between
overseas and home-market prices should in turn help to bring some demand back
to the home market, and back to bricks-and-mortar retailers active in China.


Riding on
the wave of returning demand, several substantial retail assets changed hands
this quarter, including Vipshop's buyout of Shanshan Group China outlets
portfolio and China Everbright's acquisition of Zhongguancun Times Shopping
Center in Beijing. 


Francis Li, International Director, Vice
President, Greater China, Head of Capital Markets, Greater China at Cushman
& Wakefield, concluded:
"Despite a slowdown in the overall investment
volume in Mainland China over the past two quarters we still observe strong
investor interest, especially in high-grade logistics assets and alternative
asset classes such as data centers. As the largest nation in the Asia Pacific
region, both in terms of geographical size and economic power, China offers an
array of investment opportunities across many product types and stands as an
indispensable investment destination for many international investors."


Click here to view the full report.

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& 2018 in the categories of Overall, Agency Letting/Sales, Valuation and
Research in China. In 2018, the firm had revenue of $8.2 billion across core
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